Tourism and health leaders to get honorary doctorates at UCC Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Three outstanding Jamaicans will be conferred with honorary doctoral degrees from the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC) at its commencement ceremony to be held at the National Arena in Kingston on Sunday, July 28, 2024, starting at 11am.

At this year’s commencement which takes place under the theme “Arise – take your place”, it is expected that more than 1,000 graduands will be receiving degrees for the first time in the history of the educational institution.

In excess of 6,500 guests will be in attendance and thousands more joining online, globally. A record 774 students received degrees at last year’s commencement.

The three special honourees and their awards are Edmund Bartlett,  Honorary Doctorate (Honoris Causa) in Hospitality and Tourism Management Award; Adam Stewart, Honorary Doctorate (Honoris Causa) in Business Administration Award; Dr Patricia V. Smith – Honorary Doctorate (Honoris Causa) in Behavioral Sciences Award.

Bartlett, who will also deliver the keynote address, is a transformative leader in the fields of tourism and politics and has served as Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism for approximately 13 out of the last 17 years. During that time the tourism industry has gone from strength to strength, positioning Jamaica as the one of the leading visitor destinations in the Caribbean and becoming one of the main pillars behind the economic stability the country has achieved over the past decade.

Presently the island now boasts more than 22,000 hotel rooms, while the number of visitors to the island surpassed four million for the first time in 2023.

Under Minister Bartlett’s leadership, tourism has been positioned as a catalyst for sustainable and inclusive growth, through job creation, Public Private Partnerships (PPP), wealth creation and community transformation. He has championed the development of a social equity ecosystem to give industry workers a greater sense of accomplishment, achievement and security.

The achievements in tourism under Minister Bartlett’s leadership have not gone unrecognized, as in March this year, Jamaica was named the Global Destination of the Year at the renowned travel trade show, ITB Berlin. The accolade was bestowed by the Pacific Area Travel Writers Association (PATWA), a nonprofit international media organization of travel writers committed to recognizing excellence in the industry. The organization also named Minister Bartlett ‘Global Tourism Icon’ in recognition of his “outstanding contributions to the tourism industry.”

Adam Stewart leads his family’s extensive hospitality, media, automotive and appliance businesses as Chairman and CEO of Sandals Resorts International and Executive Chairman of the ATL Group. The ATL Group comprises the Jamaica Observer newspaper, and Appliance Traders Ltd, a chain of domestic and commercial appliance outlets combining exclusive distributorship of global electronic brands with exceptional customer service throughout Jamaica.

Stewart heads the world-renowned Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts which consists of 24 properties in eight countries, and is the undisputed leader of Caribbean vacation experiences and remains fiercely committed to the development of the region. Of note, Mr. Stewart will join his late father, Gordon “Butch” Stewart, in receiving an Honorary Doctorate from the UCC, as the senior  was conferred with the honour posthumously in 2022.

Dr Patricia Smith migrated from Jamaica at age 19 for the United States, having experienced poverty and abandonment growing up in Spanish Town, St Catherine. The ambitious and determined young woman embarked on a stellar career in the field of nursing, and despite facing the challenges of depression and abuse during her early years in America, Dr Smith founded Sweet P Home Care Inc, a New York-based home health care business in 1999.

The inspirational Dr Smith, now a multi-millionaire, published her biography “I Persist” in 2022 in which she chronicles her amazing journey of resilience and courage in becoming a successful businesswoman in the field of health care and nursing who continues to give back to her community both in the USA and Jamaica.

Applauding the recipients of the three honorary doctorate degrees, Professor Colin Gyles, University President, said, “in conferring honorary degrees, the UCC Executive Council & Board, select persons who represent the core values of our university, have distinguished themselves in their chosen fields of endeavour and have made outstanding contributions to Jamaica.”